november 11

The first time I drank Boddingtons was on a freezing February night in Syracuse in 2007. I had taken a Chinatown bus from New York that that arrived in a dark parking lot where Lee was waiting for me. We went to a crowded pub for dinner and he ordered two beers. “This will change you life,” he said.

My mom had very recently been diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time and Lee was the only person I wanted to talk to about it. I ignored all the calls coming to my cell phone that weekend– friends wanting to see if I was okay, because they’d heard from someone else about my mom. Lee and I walked around campus throwing snowballs at each other. We watched a soccer game on TV– the only soccer game I’ve ever actually watched. Argentina was playing. Lee made crepes for breakfast.

My bus back to New York left at 2am on Sunday from the same dark parking lot.

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March 10th, April 18th, September 6th and November 11th.

Those are the birth and death dates of two people I have lost. I always know when those days are coming, always feel it about a week away and it hangs on for a few days after. I want to do something momentous on those days and I also want to crawl into a cave of blankets and hide. Nothing I do is ever satisfying or important enough, and I never feel better.

Tonight I’m going to drink Lee’s favorite beer and try to just feel the shitty feelings and remember as many memories as possible. It’s never going to be fair or okay.

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